Approaching: norns



This may have been answered on this thread already. I was reading it constantly Up until the first shipment of Norns, but have fallen behind since.

Is there a dedicated thread for people that have Norns and are writing about their first impressions and experience?

I’m really curious to know what the first few weeks/months are like; what are you doing with it first, what sort of set up is necessary initially?

Can it be played out of the box, or, if not, what are you doing first in order to play music?

Is coding Sc or Lua, or installing code from the community necessary before Norns can be used as an instrument? (I’m a software engineer. don’t know either language yet but am looking forward to learning) but I wanted to find out how much coding vs playing time to expect in the initial weeks of owning Norns.

How would others in the community characterize the initial learning curve or early challenges or things you hadn’t expected but discovered once Norns arrived?


there are a lot of scripts on the device (now quite a few more than the first run) which are plug and play (awake is a nice sequencer that is literally outputs sound the first time you turn on the app). a couple of scripts i still haven’t really figured out (mlr), but there’s a difference betweeen “practicing an instrument” learning curve and “how do i turn this on?” learning curve and everyone is on the right side of that line so far. if you have a grid, i think the ecosystem is already at a point where you could buy this and never feel the need to code it. otherwise there’s still a lot of fun stuff but i personally would be let down if i was only capable of using the non grid apps out of the box and there were no editor.

the coding aspect is super manageable as well. i am a total novice and the only thing i feel is holding me back is my lack of spare time. *i have not touched the supercollider stuff, haven’t felt the need.

i couldn’t get wifi running, had to use hotspot mode (good for avoiding distractions, not good for learning programming). that was the biggest early days frustration, and it wasn’t even the norns’ fault–my 20 dollar router from 2013 was just not able to handle even one device more.


these days the non-grid apps are mostly very nice midi synths, so the ecosystem isn’t so heavily tilted towards grids. you just need a USB midi device.

there are also no-external-interface drum programmers that are very satisfying. and a handful of external audio input processing scripts. and then a standalone granulator.

so there is quite a lot to do now before getting into code!


Just echoing that sentiment. I’m not a developer by trade, but I intended to dive way deeper into the lua side of norns than I actually have gotten around to and there’s still a ton of things to do with it (and it feels like that’s increasing every day).


Thanks for replying.

I should have mentioned that currently I have: KeyStep, OP-1, Digitakt, 0-coast, Behringer Neutron.

But I don’t have a grid …yet. I was also concerned about non-grid workflows and possibilities with what I currently have.


yeah a lot (all?) of the synth engines can be played via midi. and the granulator and audio processing options are already fun! i space out and record my op1 into the looper script cranes without touching the grid pretty often, second biggest use case of the device for me. (but i did edit the script to move the start and end point of the loop at the same time…so not “zero” coding, just like copy/pasting 3 lines)

but to clarify my initial statement, i wouldn’t have bought a hypothetical closed source nonreconfigurable device whose only purpose was to interface with midi devices and do some audio processing. that’s just me, i am not a big hardware pereon—i own 3 pieces of hardware and they’re everything i mentioned in this post. didn’t mean to imply there isn’t already a lot to do, there totally is!


i would :heart: to see an implementation of kria on norns!


Awesome! Thanks for sharing, @sergemodular !!! I was looking for something like this. :slight_smile:


Indeed! Very handy design @sergemodular.

Here’s mine sans rubberband:

(I would consider revising the design a touch, as for me the dongle slot has the dongle smack right up against the plastic):




i’m trying to supress gas’ing for this but that’s really sharp

i usually wrap mine in cloth instead


Lets say that I don’t have a 3d Printer or the time to 3d Print anything… how much would you charge me for one of your norns protectors?


@gmuller I know the question wasn’t directed at me. But perhaps look at a local library. A lot of them have 3d printers now available for the public.


you can pay Shapeways and they will ship the print to you


Used them to print some offworld-1 cases, would recommend!


Just curious if something similar to Sum is capable on Norns? I know it isn’t implemented yet, wondering if the hardware is up for it and if its on the community radar for a desired feature. Splitting the grid between two apps and something similar to smallbatch for simultaneous script playing. Is this something in the foreseeable future in Norns development?


Don’t see why not. The organelle copes with Orac & I believe (possibly wrongly) that that is a little less powerful in terms of processing power

I am gradually heading in this direction myself with the multi timbral engines i’m Working on. Hampered by lack of time though


Glad to hear this, It seems well within reason that it should be possible. Orac is a great example, it really changed the game in the Organelle ecosystem. Something similar on the norns would be epic. Also interesting would be the ability to build your own instruments by chaining modular scripts together. The Zoia pedal by empress effects has an interesting approach to using a grid to “patch” modular scripts together sort of like a euroroack.


This is gorgeous! Beautiful!


So does this just rest on the knobs directly? Or is there a bevel inside that has the lid resting on the edge of norns case (leaving a bit of room above the knobs?